Facebook will require contractors be paid higher wages

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Jim Castel via CNN

Facebook is raising the wages of contractors in some areas and adding benefits for those doing certain jobs, as it and other tech companies face questions over how such workers are treated.

In a blog post on Monday, Facebook said it will require that partner companies pay these workers a ” wage that’s more reflective of local costs of living. ”

In the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City and Washington, DC, contractors will receive a minimum wage of $20 an hour. In Seattle, they’ll receive at least $18 an hour.

Facebook has required that contractors be paid a $15 minimum wage since 2015, but according to the post, realized that wasn’t enough in some areas of the United States.

The affected workers are employed by outside vendors and work either part or full-time. They work for Facebook in areas such as content review, security, food services and transportation.

The changes will take effect by mid-2020 in the US. Facebook will work to extend these standards to other countries, the blog post said.

The change in Facebook’s treatment of contractors comes as the tech industry faces pressure to improve conditions for these types of workers. Silicon Valley companies have resisted making them full time employees, as they ultimately hope to replace them with artificial intelligence and other automation technology.

Facebook has added thousands of content reviewers to its workforce to fight the spread of misinformation as well as violent and extremist content. (It recently reported having 15,000 workers doing content moderation, nearly double what it had in April 2018.) At the same time, it’s faced criticism for the treatment of these workers and their working conditions.

Contractors who review content on Facebook will get further benefits. They’ll receive a higher base wage, additional benefits and more supportive programs in light of the type of work they’re doing. These changes will include giving reviewers more control over the content they’re seeing and on-site counseling during all hours of operation.

Facebook is also working to implement requirements like no sub-contracting, overtime pay and premiums for nightshifts and weekends and healthcare that meets that standards of the Affordable Care Act.

It will also start a bi-annual audit and compliance program for content review teams and launch a whistleblower hotline for contractors.

In April, Google announced that it would require that temporary and contracted workers receive full benefits from companies it works with in the coming years. The move came after months of protests from Google’s ” shadow workforce ” of temporary workers, vendors and contractors who said they were treated unfairly.